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In The Courageous State, Richard Murphy argues that neoliberalism has bred weak governments led by weak politicians who believe implicitly in the supremacy of the market. It has created a cowardly state: a state that sees responsibility and then runs away from it. Worse, the weak politicians who run our cowardly state want power solely to ensure that as much tax revenue as In The Courageous State, Richard Murphy argues that neoliberalism has bred weak governments led by weak politicians who believe implicitly in the supremacy of the market. It has created a cowardly state: a state that sees responsibility and then runs away from it. Worse, the weak politicians who run our cowardly state want power solely to ensure that as much tax revenue as possible is used to benefit the private sector that they idolise. But neoliberal theory is wrong - it has created the crises we're suffering. And it has no solution to them. The Courageous State argues powerfully for a new economic model. That model is based on a very different idea of what the role of the state is. The Courageous State is driven by its desire to work on behalf of the people of this country. And that means a Courageous State is populated by politicians who believe in government and in the power of the office they hold. They believe that office exists for the sake of the public good. They know what that public good is. They think it is their job to help each and every person in their country to achieve their potential, sustainably, in a strong mixed economy. And they believe they can command the resources to fulfil this task - whether through tax or other means. A Courageous State offers hope; our existing, cowardly, state does not. Which is why building a Courageous State is essential if we want to both solve our current problems and build a sustainable future. The question is, are you willing to be that Courageous? "Since the 2008 crash conventional economists have run out of ideas. But Richard Murphy abounds with them. He writes with electric clarity about what went wrong and what could be done to put things right. He is a new economic thinker, no mere theoretician but guided by a sharp and practical accountant's eye. He knows where the money is hidden, who has it and how to release it. Murphy is the closest thing to a one-man think tank and he is as courageous as he says our politicians should be." Polly Toynbee, The Guardian newspaper columnist and economics commentator "Rich individuals, corporations, well-funded special interest groups and much of Fleet Street is on one (the wrong) side and then there is Richard Murphy.. . the heroic figure. Tireless and forensic, driven by an admirable moral fervour, I take my hat off to a campaigner with Duracell batteries." Kevin Maguire, Sunday Mirror


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In The Courageous State, Richard Murphy argues that neoliberalism has bred weak governments led by weak politicians who believe implicitly in the supremacy of the market. It has created a cowardly state: a state that sees responsibility and then runs away from it. Worse, the weak politicians who run our cowardly state want power solely to ensure that as much tax revenue as In The Courageous State, Richard Murphy argues that neoliberalism has bred weak governments led by weak politicians who believe implicitly in the supremacy of the market. It has created a cowardly state: a state that sees responsibility and then runs away from it. Worse, the weak politicians who run our cowardly state want power solely to ensure that as much tax revenue as possible is used to benefit the private sector that they idolise. But neoliberal theory is wrong - it has created the crises we're suffering. And it has no solution to them. The Courageous State argues powerfully for a new economic model. That model is based on a very different idea of what the role of the state is. The Courageous State is driven by its desire to work on behalf of the people of this country. And that means a Courageous State is populated by politicians who believe in government and in the power of the office they hold. They believe that office exists for the sake of the public good. They know what that public good is. They think it is their job to help each and every person in their country to achieve their potential, sustainably, in a strong mixed economy. And they believe they can command the resources to fulfil this task - whether through tax or other means. A Courageous State offers hope; our existing, cowardly, state does not. Which is why building a Courageous State is essential if we want to both solve our current problems and build a sustainable future. The question is, are you willing to be that Courageous? "Since the 2008 crash conventional economists have run out of ideas. But Richard Murphy abounds with them. He writes with electric clarity about what went wrong and what could be done to put things right. He is a new economic thinker, no mere theoretician but guided by a sharp and practical accountant's eye. He knows where the money is hidden, who has it and how to release it. Murphy is the closest thing to a one-man think tank and he is as courageous as he says our politicians should be." Polly Toynbee, The Guardian newspaper columnist and economics commentator "Rich individuals, corporations, well-funded special interest groups and much of Fleet Street is on one (the wrong) side and then there is Richard Murphy.. . the heroic figure. Tireless and forensic, driven by an admirable moral fervour, I take my hat off to a campaigner with Duracell batteries." Kevin Maguire, Sunday Mirror

30 review for The Courageous State: Rethinking Economics, Society and the Role of Government

  1. 5 out of 5

    Domhnall

    This is a great addition to the mounting evidence that neoliberal economics is not scientific and not rational but only ideological, and that alternative economic approaches are both possible and viable. Indeed, that last term - "viable" - is the most striking quality of this book, because it puts forward very clearly and simply issues that ought to be addressed and credible policy options for doing that. Murphy's theoretical assault on neoliberal economics is fairly brief and highly readable. T This is a great addition to the mounting evidence that neoliberal economics is not scientific and not rational but only ideological, and that alternative economic approaches are both possible and viable. Indeed, that last term - "viable" - is the most striking quality of this book, because it puts forward very clearly and simply issues that ought to be addressed and credible policy options for doing that. Murphy's theoretical assault on neoliberal economics is fairly brief and highly readable. There are plenty of other sources for anyone wanting to explore this further but that was not the case until recently. One I recently enjoyed was this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OVAR... Indeed, a worldwide movement of economics students has emerged to challenge the dominance of neoliberal ideology in university economics departments: http://www.isipe.net/open-letter/ "We, over 65 associations of economics students from over 30 different countries, believe it is time to reconsider the way economics is taught. We are dissatisfied with the dramatic narrowing of the curriculum that has taken place over the last couple of decades. This lack of intellectual diversity does not only restrain education and research. It limits our ability to contend with the multidimensional challenges of the 21st century - from financial stability, to food security and climate change. The real world should be brought back into the classroom,..." A Guardian article has quoted one Manchester student protesting that doing an economics degree is like paying for a lobotomy. Murphy rejects the simplified graphs in which classical and neoliberal economists plot pairs of economic variables like price and demand. Their lack of empirical validity is readily demonstrated. He deploys instead a multi factor tool that I think of as a spider's web diagramme (Google lets me down though so corrections welcome). After a while it becomes a bit tedious working through the detailed account of how this is to be interpreted but on the other hand it becomes so obvious that I found I could speed read a large chunk of the book without, I believe, missing anything. So I suggest that his tool is extremely intuitive and makes its points with surprising clarity. A book like Pikkety's Capital gets its effect through brilliant analysis of data, while its policy proposals can seem something of a bolt-on that can be set to one side. By that I mean that one can accept the analysis without conceding that his proposals are the right ones. Murphy's book is explicitly written for people willing to accept his criticism of neoliberal economics. He says several times that he is not going to consume his limited space arguing with people incapable of change. However, what is surprisingly exciting is the range of specific policy proposals that are each capable of being implemented, in the UK, by a government of the left. In support of each he offers a very clear justification, something that is too often lacking in modern politics, where the noise and the spin of dishonest politicians and their media acolytes simply confuse without clarifying. When I first bought this book, a few years back, it seemed hopelessly visionary. The political dominance of neoliberal thinking across the spectrum appeared insuperable. Late in 2015, I have suddenly been energised, as have so many others, with the prospect that the ideas in this book may now be taken up and argued for by a major political party with the real prospect of getting them implemented. What began as an economic idea has now swept across government as a whole: we have got a class of politicians who think that the only useful function for the power that they hold is to dismantle the state they have been elected to govern while transferring as many of its functions as possible to unelected businesses that have bankrolled their path to power."p3 "No wonder we're in a mess. ... After all, why invest in businesses when something so much more attractive - the outsourced tax income stream of a government as anxious as possible to give it away - is waiting to be claimed... Not only are these [public] services now more costly because a profit margin has been or is being added into their cost structure, it can also be argued that their transfer into the private sector via outsourcing actually weakens the incentive for companies to invest in new technologies which might be useful to meet people's needs." p5

  2. 5 out of 5

    Titus Hjelm

    I support the ideas in this book 100%. Only four starts because it bears the marks of hasty writing (which the author admits), like repetition. Also, in general I think a book like this would have to be concise and a broadly appealing as possible. Now it's not always so. Content-wise, I'm sure there will be a lot of opposition from conventional economists who apparently really can't see beyond the rational choice paradigm. But more importantly, although the book reasonably concentrates on the UK I support the ideas in this book 100%. Only four starts because it bears the marks of hasty writing (which the author admits), like repetition. Also, in general I think a book like this would have to be concise and a broadly appealing as possible. Now it's not always so. Content-wise, I'm sure there will be a lot of opposition from conventional economists who apparently really can't see beyond the rational choice paradigm. But more importantly, although the book reasonably concentrates on the UK, I think the EU would have deserved a much bigger portion of attention. (It would have, had this been written by any other EU national, I'm afraid.) The EU, although currently starndard bearer of neoliberalism in many ways, could be just the institution that could initiate the creation of global courageous states. No one country can do it alone. But all in all, very important contribution to the post-crisis discussion about a sustainable way forward.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Zappia

    Is there an alternative to the 'slash and burn' economic strategies being employed to drag the West out of the economic crisis? Yes, I believe Richard Murphy has offered another way out of the morass. Murphy reminds us what economics is really about - people - and the strategies and ideas he offers in his book are designed not only to get nations out of the economic mess; if followed nations will flourish. The book is written with the U.K. firmly in Richard's mind, however most of the ideas can Is there an alternative to the 'slash and burn' economic strategies being employed to drag the West out of the economic crisis? Yes, I believe Richard Murphy has offered another way out of the morass. Murphy reminds us what economics is really about - people - and the strategies and ideas he offers in his book are designed not only to get nations out of the economic mess; if followed nations will flourish. The book is written with the U.K. firmly in Richard's mind, however most of the ideas can be applicable to most countries. And unlike a lot of economic texts, this book is written very much for the layman. This is a book to be read then shared with as many people as possible

  4. 5 out of 5

    Muhammad Fakhruddin

    For clarification, this book is based on Keynessian economics. I found it helpful to understand some aspects on recent financial crisis and how come the uneven wealth distribution i.e the 10% rich is paying lesser tax than the other 90%. By the way I still didn't absorb much of his 'new economic thinking' that he proposed in Part II. The language and economic terms he used is quite straight forward and easy to understand. A useful book for beginner in economics like me, unless the Part II of the b For clarification, this book is based on Keynessian economics. I found it helpful to understand some aspects on recent financial crisis and how come the uneven wealth distribution i.e the 10% rich is paying lesser tax than the other 90%. By the way I still didn't absorb much of his 'new economic thinking' that he proposed in Part II. The language and economic terms he used is quite straight forward and easy to understand. A useful book for beginner in economics like me, unless the Part II of the book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Richard Hakes

    he said the book was knocked off pretty quick and it shows. Very much preaching to the converted as I cannot imagine any but the converted reading it. Lots of it would be nice if... but short of how to change the world.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brian Mcleish

    Couldn't actually finish this book. I agree with (some) of Richard's analysis but his polemic (almost hectoring) tone throughout really put me off. Couldn't actually finish this book. I agree with (some) of Richard's analysis but his polemic (almost hectoring) tone throughout really put me off.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jack Evans

  8. 4 out of 5

    Saikrishna

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sam

  10. 5 out of 5

    Richard Currie

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dan

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tim

  13. 5 out of 5

    John ingamells

  14. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  15. 4 out of 5

    Miguel Carapeto

  16. 4 out of 5

    Treadlightly08

  17. 5 out of 5

    Joe Carver

  18. 4 out of 5

    Garry Strudwick

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dave Murphy

  20. 5 out of 5

    Max

  21. 4 out of 5

    Samuel Hilton

  22. 4 out of 5

    C Cowan

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tim Cowlishaw

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ewan Frater

  25. 4 out of 5

    Pyang

  26. 4 out of 5

    David Morley

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gabi De Souza Crook

  28. 4 out of 5

    tracey wingham

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sean Calvert

  30. 5 out of 5

    Simon Wood

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